'We stand for the absolute and total liberation of Palestine' – SA Jewish groups
Clement Manyathela interviews Anthony Hodgson, coordinator of Concerned South African Jews and Jo Bluen, member of South African Jews for a Free Palestine.
"We call for an immediate cease to Israel’s bombardment and blockade of Gaza."
These are the words of the Concerned South African Jews group, in an open letter.
While drawing on one of the core beliefs of Judaism, the sanctity of human life, the group is calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and to account for those responsible, "not in spite of our Jewish identity, but because of it."
As of the time that this article was published, the group had 706 signatories to the open letter.
Given to their own identity and experiences of their ancestors, Hodgson says that they have a "special" obligation to prevent atrocities and genocides from occurring.
Speaking on behalf of himself and not the group at large, he says that the current Israeli government is a far-right government and that those responsible need to be prosecuted for the war crimes that they have and are committing.
Their goal with the open letter is to make it clear that the institutions that claim to speak on behalf of Jewish South Africans do not speak on behalf of all Jewish South Africans.
Writing this letter has come with backlash, with many signatories being labelled as 'traitors' and 'self-hating Jews', says Hodgson.
Bluen seconds Hodgson's sentiments, adding that they stand for the 'absolute and total liberation' of Palestine.
She adds that it's important that the narrative of 'Muslims versus Jews' be debunked.
We realise that there's common ground amongst various Jewish South Africans in standing for certain issues and opposing certain things that are happening.Anthony Hodgson, Coordinator – Concerned South African Jews
We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine.Jo Bluen, Member – South African Jews for a Free Palestine
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